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Causing Health

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Paul Leonard
RIBA Studio | UK
Society today is facing a mental health pandemic; in Ireland 18.5% of the population suffers from mental ill-health (ICAP, 2018). Concerningly, this accounts for one of the highest rates across Europe, ranking 3rd out of 36 nations surveyed in their annual EU report. Aside from the data, the emergence of numerous mental health focused organisations provides further indication of a struggling society in need of help. However, in stark contrast to the Maggie's Centres (for cancer support), these organisations primarily operate from make shift facilities in disused buildings, with little regard for the capacity of environment to positively impact health.

Studies and key research largely attribute the worrying statistics concerning mental health to the psychological impact of 21st Century life in the city. Simply, humans are not conditioned to exist in dense urban environments. This, coupled with the United Nations projections for future urbanisation, ultimately means the issues surrounding mental ill-health are likely to deteriorate further.

This discourse seeks to understand how best we as architects can design spaces that mitigate these issues and positively affect mental wellbeing, specifically relating to the design of spaces for the treatment of, and prevention from, periods of poor mental health.

Paul Leonard

Ian Murphy
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